Health and wellbeing
We believe in high quality research that truly informs policy in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. At NatCen we use the most reliable research methods to build up a true picture of the nation's health, and how to improve it. Our research covers a wide range of topics including general health, diet and nutrition, sexual health, addiction and gambling, and mental health.
With a national field force of nurses, we are able to combine information collected in interviews with physical measurements. Our areas of methodological expertise also include collecting detailed lifestyle data that impacts on health – for instance from food or drinking diaries, or measuring amounts of exercise and physical activity - as well as attitudes to health and the evaluation of specific policies and interventions.
Find out more about our:
Studies and methods
We are proud to carry out the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey, the two largest annual studies of general health and wellbeing in the UK. We also conduct more topic-specific national studies including:
As policy shifts towards an increased focus on mental health, so does our research. We recently conducted the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, the national epidemiological study of mental health issues in England, and we are about to start on the first study of young people's mental health. Our qualitative and mixed methods research also explores mental health, wellbeing, and recovery in more detail.
As well as large national surveys, we are also experienced in large- and small-scale qualitative projects, mixed methods research combining surveys and/or validated scales with qualitative data, as well as the secondary analysis of existing survey and administrative data.
We are heavily involved in the evaluation of policies in England, Scotland, and Wales. We have evaluated a wide range of interventions including point-of-sale advertising of tobacco, child obesity, health programmes in school and school nutrition.
For the full list of our projects, visit our Health & wellbeing research page.
Find out more about our Health team's areas of expertise here.
We work with a wide variety of funders and commissioning organisations across the sector. On a national level, we work closely with the NHS Digital, Public Health England, NHS Scotland and the Food Standards Agency, as well as the Welsh and Scottish Governments. We work on projects with the NHS across the UK.
Other projects are commissioned by funding bodies such as the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council. We also work with a variety of charities and other organisations including the Responsible Gambling Trust, the Royal National Institute of Blind People and Which?.
We believe that research has a fundamental role to play in developing and improving public policy. Here are some examples of how our studies have made a difference in the real world.
Blood pressure and kidney disease
The unique combination of survey questions and physical data we collected as part of the Health Survey for England was able to demonstrate a number of alarming, hidden problems. Significant numbers of people across England were unaware that they had high blood pressure and kidney disease. Doctors are now checking more often.
Alcohol and tobacco in Scotland
We have worked closely with the Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland and other key organisations in relation to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco sales and use, from evaluations of test purchasing of tobacco and alcohol, the evaluation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, to our current work as part of a consortium led by the University of Stirling, on evaluating the impact of the point-of-sale tobacco advertising ban.
The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles has been highly influential in the development of the national chlamydia screening programme, the teenage pregnancy strategy and in developing campaigns for young people and gay men.
ELSA discovered that smoking, being overweight and having high blood pressure aren’t just bad for your physical health - they also affect how sharp your mind is in later life. Organisations like Alzheimer’s Research UK are using this information to support their campaigning work.
We work hard with clients to make sure that the research they commission appears in the right places. All our clients receive free media consulation and assistance. This makes sure that research is seen and used by as many people as possible.
Some examples of the range of our health coverage:
For more information, contact our New Business team at 0207 549 9584 or fill in our contact form.